The development of European Research Area (ERA) and the involvement of partners in EU’s research and innovation programmes were discussed at the meeting of EU competitiveness ministers today in Slovenia.
“For Estonia, it is important that the research policy in the EU supports cross-border and cross-sectoral cooperation more impactful. Specificities and needs of small countries, such as Estonia shall be taken into greater account when designing the new research framework programme as well as the ERA,” said Liina Kersna, the Minister of Education and Research of Estonia. “Research and innovation create a driving force. Therefore it is Estonia’s top priority to keep investing in to research and innovation at least 1% of GDP.”
Ministers found that the ERA is an important tool for shaping research policy, which must be integrated into all EU policies. Minister Kersna stressed that the goals of the ERA need updating, but current goals must be also met. It is important for Estonia that the EU’s research policy is flexible and national research development programmes are designed by the member states themselves.
The current ERA goals have been strong national research systems, optimal transnational cooperation and competition, joint dealing with major challenges, research infrastructure, open labour market for researchers, gender equality in research, knowledge circulation and international cooperation. Ministers will continue the debate and agree on the action plan for implementing the ERA under Slovenia’s presidency.
Additionally, ministers discussed how to promote research cooperation with international partners. It is important for Estonia that cross-border and cross-sectoral cooperation, mobility, excellence, openness and inclusion are more strongly supported in the implementation of new framework programme. There needs to be more small and medium-sized projects which provide opportunities for smaller countries, research institutions and companies to participate as coordinators.